Sharks revamp goaltending with Hill, Reimer, seek return to playoffs

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After the NHL Draft, free agency and other offseason moves, NHL.com is examining where each team stands in preparation for the 2021-22 regular season, which starts Oct. 12. Today, the San Jose Sharks:

2020-21 season: 21-28-7, seventh in Honda West Division; did not qualify for Stanley Cup Playoffs

 

[RELATED: Complete Team Reset coverage]

 

Key arrivals

Adin Hill, G: The 25-year-old agreed to a two-year contract Aug. 4 to avoid an arbitration hearing. He was acquired in a trade with the Arizona Coyotes on July 17 along with a seventh-round pick in the 2022 NHL Draft for goalie Josef Korenar and a second-round pick in the 2022 draft after going 9-9-1 with a 2.74 goals-against average, .913 save percentage and two shutouts in an NHL career-high 19 games (17 starts) last season. … James Reimer, G: The 33-year-old signed a two-year contract July 28. He went 15-5-2 with a 2.66 GAA and .906 save percentage in 22 games (21 starts) for the Carolina Hurricanes last season. … Nick Bonino, F: The 33-year-old signed a two-year contract July 28. He scored 26 points (10 goals, 16 assists) in 55 regular-season games and did not have a point in seven Stanley Cup Playoff games for the Minnesota Wild last season. … Andrew Cogliano, F: The 34-year-old signed a one-year contract July 28 after scoring 11 points (five goals, six assists) in 54 games for the Dallas Stars last season.

Key departures

Patrick Marleau, F: The 41-year-old is an unrestricted free agent after scoring nine points (four goals, five assists) in 56 games last season, the lowest offensive output in his NHL career. He played his 1,768th game April 19, passing Gordie Howe for most in NHL history. He is the Sharks all-time leader in games played (1,607), goals (522) and points (1,111). … Martin Jones, G: He signed a one-year contract with the Philadelphia Flyers on July 28 after going 15-13-4 with a 3.28 GAA and .896 save percentage in 34 starts last season. The Sharks bought out the final three seasons of his six-year contract July 27. … Ryan Donato, F: He became an unrestricted free agent after not receiving a qualifying offer. He scored 20 points (six goals, 14 assists) in 50 games last season.

On the cusp

William Eklund, F: The 18-year-old was chosen with the No. 7 pick in the 2021 NHL Draft. He was named rookie of the year in the Swedish Hockey League last season after he scored 23 points (11 goals, 12 assists) in 40 games for Djurgarden. … Thomas Bordeleau, F: The 19-year-old scored 30 points (eight goals, 22 assists) in 24 games as a freshman at the University of Michigan and was named Sharks Prospect of the Year last season. … Ozzy Wiesblatt, F: The 19-year-old made his professional debut last season, scoring three points (two goals, one assist) in six games for San Jose of the American Hockey League. He led Prince Albert of the Western Hockey League in assists (21) and points (28) in 23 games.

What they still need

A spark on offense. Production has plummeted since the Sharks tied for second in the NHL in goals per game (3.52) in 2018-19, the last time they made the Stanley Cup Playoffs and had a player score at least 30 goals or 50 points. They were tied for 27th at 2.57 goals per game in 2019-20, and last season they were 25th (2.61) and 29th on the power play (14.1 percent). They also must defend better to help Hill, who will be a No. 1 goalie in the NHL for the first time. San Jose allowed 196 goals last season, 50 more than they scored (146). Two teams with a negative goal-differential last season made the playoffs: the Nashville Predators (minus-3) and Montreal Canadiens (minus-7). 

They said it

“We know what we’ve got coming and we’re very pleased with how it’s been replenished. But we also want to win, and we feel that we’ve got, with the ingredients in place and some of these veterans, that we are a playoff team. That is our goal. We stated that with everybody and that is the journey that we’re on.” — general manager Doug Wilson

Fantasy focus

Reimer rejoins the Sharks and looks to rediscover the valuable fantasy form he showed for them in 2015-16. That season he was acquired by San Jose in a trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs prior to the NHL Trade Deadline and went 6-2-0 with a 1.62 GAA, .938 save percentage and three shutouts in eight regular-season starts. Reimer, mostly the backup or third goalie for the Hurricanes last season, has a solid career save percentage (.913 in 385 games) and is a deep fantasy sleeper who boosts San Jose’s outlook at the position. — Pete Jensen

Projected lineup

Evander KaneLogan CoutureKevin Labanc

Timo MeierTomas HertlAlexander Barabanov

John Leonard — Nick Bonino — Rudolfs Balcers

Andrew Cogliano — Dylan GambrellMatt Nieto

Mario FerraroBrent Burns

Nikolai KnyzhovErik Karlsson

Radim SimekMarc-Edouard Vlasic

Adin Hill

James Reimer

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